Many of us have been using ‘bone china’ crockery for as long as we can remember. However, most of us may not have given a passing thought to the word “bone”. It is disturbing to know that bone china crockery is not as harmless as it appears to be. Rather, it is a deadly cocktail of slaughterhouse byproducts made available through a cruel industrial process. Yes, bone “china” crockery indeed contains the bones of animals. Thomas Frye, who is known to have begun the industrial production of bone china crockery, set up his factory near the slaughterhouses and cattle markets in Essex, England. You can click this wiki link to read more about the history of bone china.
How is bone china crockery produced?
Bone china crockery is made from clay containing varying degrees of bone ash (25% to 50%). Wondering how the bone ash is produced? Animal bones obtained from slaughterhouses are first processed to remove the flesh and glue from them. The bones are then heated at very high temperatures (1100c to 1250c) until they burn to ash or to a fine powder. This ash or powder is then combined with water and clay to produce a slurry. Finally, the slurry is fashioned into cups, saucers, plates, teapots, bowls of various shapes and sizes… familiar objects in your kitchen and dining table, aren’t they?! (source: Vegplanet)
As compared to pure porcelain, crockery made from ‘bone china’ is easily identifiable from their greater translucence and lightness. And, finer the bone china, higher is the content of dead animal bones.
What are the alternatives?
Here are some cruelty-free ideas for the times you go crockery shopping. Hopefully the suggestions will help you be mindful of the purchase decisions you take.
1) Glass/crystal/opal glass crockery from any crockery store across the country. The glass and crystal range from the LaOpala brand is a popular choice. LaOpala crockery has the ‘green’ vegetarian symbol stamped on its boxes and the declaration that the product is “100% bone ash free”. Some years ago, LaOpala had launched an ad. campaign with the slogan, “Vegetarians love their meal more on LaOpala. 100% bone ash free.” You can view one of the LaOpala campaign ads by clicking this link.
2) Ceramic/porcelain/clay/earthernware crockery with aesthetic looks and designs from standard crockery stores, craft bazzars, tribal art shops, Fabindia, Mother Earth, and Lifestyle stores across the country. However, according to Beauty Without Cruelty (BWC) – India, ceramic crockery may be glazed with shellac. Shellac is obtained from kerria lacca or lac insects. It is a resin consisting of the lac insect's larvae, parts, and wings. One lakh insects are killed for 333 grams of shellac. Besides crockery, shellac (E number E904) is an ingredient of an unimaginable number of products used in daily life – gems, nutties, confectionery, dried fruits, crockery, electrical insulation, adhesives, pastes, printing inks, paints, textiles dyes, varnishes, polishes, crayons, optical frames, dental plates, grease-proof paper, jewellery settings, fizzy drinks, and the list goes on! This report by BWC contains all details about cruelty lac production and the alternatives.
BWC recommends querying the manufacturer to ensure shellac-free crockery.
3) Stainless steel utensils available in any stainless steel outlet across the country.
“If a man aspires toward a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals.” ~Leo Tolstoy, Writer and Philosopher~
For information about Beauty Without Cruelty – India, the organization that introduced the 'green' vegetarian symbol, you can click this link.